Posted in Faith, Inspiration

Texas is my Narnia part 2…


I have always loved Narnia. Though, I admit I was a late bloomer to the Narnian world of wonders. I only really found out about it when I was about 15 just before the first movie hit. Still, I have loved the books. Devoured the movies. Most of the time I find that I either like the movie version or the book version of a story better, but there was something about Narnia that drew me to both of the versions interchangeably. Still yet, I have loved the soundtracks to the films as well. Some 10 years later after the fact, I still listen to them and they still bring me goose bumps, and let me soar on their wings of majesty.

It wasn’t until recently I ran across the “Prince Caspian” soundtrack in my car that I put it on. It was probably the first time I’d listened to it since moving to Texas. I had it blaring in my car as I coasted on a drive through the country side.

The song “This is Home” by Switchfoot came on and it seemed as if I was hearing the words anew, as if for the first time. Thus, I realized something. The song was actually describing me. I remember having listened to it years ago and loved the music but the word never truly made sense to me. I guess it was because I’d never had that experience or nothing to relate it to. But the song is describing someone being called home to a foreign place that we were made for, where we belong, and are perfectly fitted for it. All the spiritual aspects of that aside, I realized that Texas has been to me what Narnia was to the Pevensie children. This song, though I’ve known and have sung it for many years, is now my own and I can sing it and mean it and understand it because I’ve lived it. 

“I’ve got my memories

Always inside of me

But I can’t go back

Back to how it was

 I believe you now

I’ve come too far

No I can’t go back

Back to how it was

Created for a place I’ve

never known; This is home

Now I’m finally back to where I belong”

-Switchfoot-

While I loved growing up in South Florida, smack in the middle between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, the epitome of urban city, I cannot go back. I cannot be who I used to be. I cannot fitin the places I once fit. I am different. I have grown. I cannot fit there again because I am not the same person anymore. I never felt in my heart that Florida was me, that it was home. I used to long for quiet, curvy roads in woodlands of adventure, not high traffic city high-rises or street racing competitions. I remember taking long drives out into the marshlands of the Florida Everglades. It was a 45-minute drive just to make it out of the city and onto I-27 driving into nowhere. I loved driving out there. Few cars, lots of open space (which is a vast commodity in S. FL), and giant electric landlines. It was passive and quiet. And every now and again you’d have to stop for the giant alligator crossing the road (no joke).

I loved my life growing up. I cherish the memories with the Romanian community I grew up with there, and the friends and memories cultivated there. Beach life was awesome. Always hot, always ready for a swim, or at the very least, a walk on the 68 degree “frozen” beach in winter.

I do miss the condominium I called home for 20 years, overlooking the Intracoastal watching speedboats and day cruises fly by leaving green churning waters behind in their wake. It was breath-taking beauty and I’ve realized its something many people would give their right arm for. But it was not what I yearned for.

Coming to San Antonio, the big city with a country feel, has been the adventure of my life. I left everyone and everything I’d ever known behind to follow what I felt God calling me to do, move away. I’ve grown so much from the Lilly that I used to be in the almost 5 years that l left. Its been an adventure, no doubt. I’ve grown in my faith, having to solely depend on God for a lot of things. I’ve grown as a person, as a writer, and even as a crafter.


About Texas. Well… It’s large, it vast, it’s wild. Literally. I have driven on the road with a peacock almost as tall as my car staring back at me while I’m stopped at a light on a major access road. I’ve narrowly missed colliding into wild boar as they come out of the trees and cross the roads. I’ve had to drive 2o miles slower than the limit at night because unlike S. FL. there are not a lot of lights and deer are always about. I’ve hiked along paths shared alongside Buzzards with wingspans the size of my two arms and then some. I’ve met a fox or two. I’ve been greeted by a flock of Turkeys (mind you the flock is really called a rafter). I’ve watcher Heron take off from tree, its wings audible from 50-100 meters away. Oh- and lets not forget I’ve found about 17 species of wild mushroom.


There is a wild, sentimental natural beauty in Texas that was never or could never be a part of my life there. I’ve seen beauty impossible in FL. I’ve grown in unimaginable ways. I am braver because of Texas (and its ginormous bugs), stronger because of the amazing people that just “happen” to drop onto my path who carry me through remarkably unsurvivable things and in remarkable ways. Of course coming to a place I’d never really known, save the few visits I had as a kid and knowing enough people to count on one hand leaves a lot of room for God to fill. And He has. With people, places, experiences… so many good things. Sure, trials too, but even in those God has proven Himself faithful.


For me, I am beginning to trust more. Trust God and even people. I am beginning to blossom into the lily of the field that God is providing for, without my scheming, without my worrying. My journey has just begun and I can say for the first time in a long time that I feel a light brimming inside my soul that has not seen a dawning in many a fort-night, but it is churning. The inside is turning outward and all that was will be remade within, like a caterpillar regurgitating itself from the inside out.

 

 

 

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Forever Altered by Their Simple Presence

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Wooden door gate
I wrote this poem back in 2007 in honor of a friend who had come from Austria. He’d lived in the US for 5 or 6 years with his aunt and uncle and ultimately decided he would go back to his parents in Europe. That was heart breaking. Not just for me, but for all of us in our youth group. He was a kind hearted guy who was like a brother to me growing up in my teen years. This was the very first time someone close to me had left the picture and permanently. I mourned his loss a long time. Not because he died, but because our friendship changed and over time and seas, it died. I know he got married and is a dad now. He’s happy and that makes me happy. Still, I think of all the fun filled times we had together with our youth group fondly. Doing doughnuts in the church parking lot, stints to Miami. Laughing and singing together. Those were the songs of our youthful hearts.

But reading over this poem recently, I’ve realized that this wasn’t just for him. It’s as valid a statement in my life now as ever. And yes, I can say indeed God has been faithful in bringing me the friendships I always need to sustain me in the darkness as well as the light. So here’s to you! A sweet friend, who’s presence alters me forever…

~                    ~                   ~                       ~                        ~                      ~                       ~                     ~

Life is an incredible journey

That takes us to unimaginable places

And brings amazing people into our lives.

 

It is like riding a wave

With many ups and downs.

 

Sometimes we soar

And sometimes we sink

So deep we believe it is the end.

 

But it is in times like these

That a true friend finds us

And pulls us back up.

 

Each friend we make on our journey

Is special in their own way.

 

Many come and go.

Some we know longer than others.

Some we see every day,

 

While others, we may

never meet face to face;

each leaves us with a lesson.

 

Something we learned

through what we survived together.

 

During the course of our lives,

each lesson shapes us.

It makes us into who we are.

 

Though many friends may only

have a small impact on our lives,

There are a few that deeply change us.

 

Even though we don’t know where

Life’s journey will take us,

 

We can hold on to this:

We’ve been changed by these-

Forever altered by their simple presence.

 

They were meant to be- to be there,

In the midst of our lives and help shape

us into who we were always destined to be.

A Meaning Beyond

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If you don’t know what the White Rose Society was then you may miss the overall power of the message written by Sophie Scholl, one of the members. It was a peaceful band of resistance to the ideals of Nazi Germany. Most of its members were college students. A portion of them were caught with leaflets on campus and executed for treason. Sophie write these words soon before her death. She knew that she wanted so much more and believed in deeper things than what Hitler and his Nazi agenda threw out for all to swallow whole.

All the Nazi issues aside, the deeper issue remains here. Truth. It resounds deep within us. We all know it when we see it. We feel our souls turn over in their graves. The the graves of mass produced artificial lives, plastic lives. They are lives filled to the brim with activities that society tells us (and we tell ourselves) that mean something. They represent status, where we are in life. As if we have somewhere to go every night of the week it means we are deeply connected. Connected to friendships, to people, to places, to what we do. But the truth is, for most of us we are not.

We are running our race on empty looking beside us instead of within. We pretend what we have and what we do can fill the leaky void in or souls, but really nothing but truth can do that. And truth is really a measurable, quantifiable thing.

Ultimately, God is truth and his truth brings us to all the deeper meanings we seek so badly and yet fall short of.

 

Wells and Faucets

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“There is a current stirring deep inside

It’s overflowing from the heart of God

The flood of heaven crashing over us

The tide is rising, rising…

We come alive in the river.

We come alive in the river.

   -Jesusculture-

Though we all have God’s power available to us, our forgiveness ready for the taking, we do not all have the same strength to fight those battles we need to in order to walk in fullness instead of defeat. For some, they are fighting too many battles already, some of which are not theirs to fight but they have to fight them anyway. They are hurting, dragging on in the life they live. They can’t walk in the same kind of victory as others, at least not yet. There needs to be healing first and that takes time. Sometimes it takes years even for healing to begin. For some of us, it’s a longer and harder process of finding that victory in Christ. Things like depression, anxiety disorder, past hurts, abuse, etc- all come into play in holding us back. We don’t trust easy. We want to but we can’t.

This is how I think of it. If God is the river running through town, all have access to its pure life-giving waters. We all need water to live and can drink whenever we want as much as we want. However, for some of us, all we have to do is to turn on the faucet. Others have to walk a few blocks to the well, dip a big jar into its waters, and haul up the heavy load of life-preserving goodness inch by inch. Then we have to walk home with it on our shoulders and do it all again tomorrow.

Those at the well are the ones battling. We are the ones scared beyond reckoning. Our ability to gain that necessary living water is there, it just takes so much more of our life force in the time and even the effort it takes to get it. We battle and we do it hard, but we cannot be equal to those who have not had those deep, radiating wounds that only heal an inch at a time, those brutal assaults on our minds and hearts.

pexels-photo-5 copy 5 So be kind, remember everyone is fighting a different battle, some for far longer than you and they are tired. They are running at the pace of turtles but they keep going. The last thing they need is for one more person to tell them they aren’t good enough. So do not look down on them and say they should be where you are, offer them a cup of water, instead, and a hand. Fight with them when they can’t fight anymore. Encourage them, cheer them on.

You’ll be amazed at how far they can go when others stand with them.

It’s 2017. A new year has begun, a fresh page in the story of our lives has come. On this first day of the year, the sun was out shining though it was pleasantly cool. Just a perfect dawning for a new year.

I couldn’t resist the urge ,so I took a drive. Windows half rolled down, music blaring- I drove through one of my most favorites local spots. It’s a tiny town nearby dubbed Gray Forest. There’s nothing gray about it, despite the name.

As I was driving at snails pace through the tiny one laned “streets” of Grey Forest, I heard the birds sweetly singing  their songs. Squirrels danced in the hollows of trees, bouncing every which way. Cars lined the driveways of each house I passed. Life was happening as usual on a Sunday afternoon.

Then it struck me. It’s a new year. But life is still going on. Life doesn’t stop. Not for us to take in its delights, not to hold still so we could mourn our losses. Time runs. Life just is. I spent a lot of time missing the “old days” this past year. I’ve wondered why I came to Texas. Why God sent me to this place where it seemed life ran fast leaving me without roots to sink into the rock solid ground. As soon as I’d plant, everything changed. I was running to try to catch up and all in unfamiliar untilled soil. And all I wanted was what I had before. Strange enough when I left Florida 5 years ago now, I was so ready. I was ready to have no semblance of what I had known until then. I was ready to traverse the path without glancing back. Yet here I am, yearning for those times that no longer exist. Just like this tiny town. Life was speeding by and I was trying to hold it still.

Houses were being built, hope of future kindling under their wings. Some were selling, their signs desperately displayed out front begging for a taker, wanting a new beginning elsewhere.

Life. As plain and simple as it could be, yet filled to the brim with beauty. The beauty God has put in it. He’s gifted us a life. Only one. We can’t go back and do it again. So let’s look forward to making the rest of it what we desire.

This one is mine and I have discovered that Texas is my NARNIA, but more on that in part 2 of this post due on Sunday. Here are some pics from my drive…

Texas is my Narnia part 1

The Light

The Light

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There is heartbreak in my heart,

A gaping hole in my soul and

fear clutches at my very being.

I fall and cry out,

“Who am I, Oh God?”

but there is only silence.

I curl into a ball and

let the tears of agony fall.

The silence is deafening.

Only my screams are heard,

echoing through the hollow night.

Darkness embraces me, icy and cold.

In the vast darkness a voice rings.

It is soft and tender, inviting.

I strain to hear.

It sounds. It resounds,

In the deep hollow of my soul’s night.

It echos inside my empty heart.

But from within comes a warmth.

It fills me, amazes me.

I can’t explain it, can’t understand it.

“YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE,”

the voice reverberates.

It echos inside me.

My anguished depths cry out:

I once did, but no longer.

My words come without voice.

I am no one. I have become nothing,

This is the rebutal my torn soul gives,

the answer a shattered life spews.

Still, He hears. He hears ME.

Despite my lack of words He vibrates

within those awful confines called body.

Without warning,

out of the darkness

a piercing light comes to life.

It blinds me. Ignites my insides.

It consumes me, yet sustains me.

It is an ecstasy that burns me.

The voice thunders inside me.

YOU ARE MINE,

 A PRECIOUS JEWEL AMONG DIAMONDS.  

“YOU ARE A DELICATE FLOWER,

YET YOU’RE MY WORLD.

YOU HOLD THE LOVE OF THE ANCIENT OF DAYS.  

“YOU EXALT THE HEART OF THE GREATEST

WITH YOUR JUBILATION AND

TEAR IT TO SHREDS AS YOU DESPAIR. 

“YOU HOLD WITHIN YOU THE SPIRIT

OF THE MOST HIGH.

YOU ARE ALL THERE IS. MY EVERYTHING.  

“IT IS FOR YOU THAT I GAVE MYSELF,

FOR YOU I LONG IN THE DAYLIGHT,

AND FOR YOU I WILL ALWAYS FIGHT.

“YOU ARE MY HEIR, MY INHERITANCE

THAT WHICH I DESIRE TO BE NEAR.

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, I WILL FIGHT FOR YOU.” 

The words penetrate my soul.

They pound with the beats of my heart,

filling the empty spaces.

They fill every space in between.

They are truth, they are Love,

They are Life, eternally.

I open my eyes and let in the Light.

The  darkness falls away.

Fear evaporates into oblivion.

Doubt ceases.

My mind quiets and my heart melts.

Fire consumes me and I soar.

I look into the heart of the God

that sees me, and I remember.

I recall my identity.

It is not in me, but within Him.

His essence creates me, sustains me.

Every moment, it completes me.

There in His soul is love.

Joy floods His heart seeing me fulfilled.

He offers me His hand.

I take it and

Love drowns me.

It makes me new.

Love sweeps me away

to that place of no return.

Where I’ll never be the same.

It is where Love meets us,

In our disparage, our worthlessness

And make us whole.

Love. It gives life.

Love is in the Light

and He is the Light.